We often speak of the exception that proves the rule. The expression is misunderstood and misused, often to justify flight from the rule. Some smart-aleck invented this rule: “All rules have exceptions, except the Rule of Exception.” But there is a rule with no exception:
For the one who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there are no exceptions.
Colossians 3:25 NET
Nobody, but nobody, will flee from the righteous judgment of God. There will be no justifications, qualifications, nor attenuating circumstances.
So in chapter 3, there are behaviors to put to death (stop practicing) and others that we must put on (practice), for God will judge each one according to his works.